New Castle News

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December 12, 2013

New Castle board sets charter school hearing

NEW CASTLE — The New Castle school board plans to consider the revised application of a charter school.

The board has set a public hearing for 6 p.m. Dec. 30 for comments about plans of the New Castle Arts Academy to set up its charter school in a former hotel downtown.

The academy submitted its revised application to the district Nov. 15, after its first attempt was rejected last year following a public hearing.

Solicitor Charles Sapienza said the district is planning to challenge the new application on several grounds.

Sapienza, former acting superintendent Stanley Magusiak, business manager Joseph Ambrosini and other administrators had looked at the first application and cited several pages of what they believed were deficiencies. Based on those perceived shortcomings, they recommended the board deny the application.

Those cited inefficiencies included an undefined location and siting problems, budget issues and curriculum inadequacies, lack of community support, discrepancies in the advisory board and founding member lists, and lack of funding allocations for support services.

The school board must vote to grant or deny the charter school by mid-January. If it is denied, the organizers have the option of filing an appeal to the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas, Sapienza said.

Debra Rice, spokeswoman for the charter school, said it would rent space in the former Day’s Inn hotel building from the owner, Richard Hvizdak, and that its officials have entered a lease agreement with him.

She said the rest of the application is merely a resubmission of the original plans.

Rice and others are planning to open a fine arts-infused charter school and offer foreign culture and languages in addition to regular curriculum.

They had submitted an application to the school board about a year ago and, after two public hearings, the board rejected the application in March.

This time, a school board with different members will be voting on the charter school proposal, under a new superintendent.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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